MacArthur Picks New $500K 'Geniuses'

Twenty-four creative high-achievers handed $500K
By Rachel Kravetz,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2007 7:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – "Master vocalist" Dawn Upshaw is among 24 "geniuses"  awarded half a million bucks by the MacArthur Foundation today. Back from a break to treat her breast cancer, Upshaw says she hopes that "a lot of amazing music comes from it. Maybe new pieces with young singers." Other so-called "Genius Grant" recipients include a playwright, a geographer and an installation artist.

Winners range in age and continued the trend of champs coming from New York State. Playwright Lynn Nottage of Brooklyn, 1 of 11 women to win this year, says the grant gives her “freedom to explore” after years of working to “eke out a living.”  Awarded for vision and promise, winners are free to spend the money as they please, the Chicago Tribune reports.